In real life, though, non-noteworthy meals definitely exist. We don’t go out for every meal. We come home late and throw things in a pot, or in the microwave, or even, if things get dire, open a crinkly bag.
So what do we food-obsessives eat when we’re not ‘on’? What do we crave when we know it won’t go into an article or be recommended to a friend? What’s our comfort food, our most dog-eared recipe? What do we always restock when we go to the grocery store?
Yes, I’m asking you!
The question feels almost intrusive, like asking to see a someone’s underwear drawer. But I think it says a lot about the way our taste buds differ before we deliberately twist them to try and like things that are new or experimental or ‘in’.
I’m not knocking the deliberate twisting of tastebuds here. (Obviously; my entire blog promotes the willingness to do this.) Some of my favorite foods were acquired by the deliberate twisting of tastebuds. I learned to like olives by stolidly continuing to eat them, forcing them past my gag reflex, until they suddenly, beautifully, morphed into the slick, rich, pungent, and delicious morsels they are. I put them in hummus regularly now, and will suck up olive tapenade at work events like a vacuum cleaner. Similarly, I balked at pork blood jelly for a long time, until I realized bun bo hue was an obstacle course of bones and cartilage without its silky texture. I’m currently trying very hard to like celery by slowly incorporating it into juice.
But when I’m not eating to expand my boundaries or as research? When I’m tired and revert to the comfortable?
For dinner, at least once a week, I have a salad concoction that’s like a deconstructed California roll without the krab. Sushi rice, cucumber, carrot, avocado, sesame seeds, shredded seaweed, soy, wasabi. Sometimes I’ll use kimchi, fish roe, and sesame leaves instead of the cucumber, carrot, and avocado. If I’m feeling really fancy I’ll get some raw fish and make it poke-esque. But boy, do I love vaguely Asian rice salads when I’m feeling like not making a big production about food!
I also like fancy potato chips (there are 8 bags in my pantry, with flavors ranging from dill pickle to horseradish-cheddar), granola (noun) so, well, granola (adjective), that it’s unsweetened and made in small batches in an unmarked storefront by an unsmiling hippie, grapes (they’re my M&M’s), eggs on the exact line between hard- and soft-boiled, impossibly oily eggplant/tofu stir fry, and candied ginger, which I eat by the handful.
What do you subsist on that you never write - or talk - about?